Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Everybody Thinks They Are Right

Have you ever noticed how; at least the more serious Christians, think they are always right? It seems everyone has an idea about Christianity. I have to tell you, it really makes me mad. Why? Because so many men and woman have put an effort into understanding God and His ways and this is as good as it gets. Scholars have tried to comprehend the ancient texts, and every Christian saved or unsaved (yeah some call themselves Christians) has struggled with the Bible.

In my estimation, a lot of folks believe the Christian message on hearsay. They read a book about Jesus, listen to a radio program, watch a televangelist, or hear it from the pulpit. They never get face-to-face with the Bible. I have not met a Christian in years that has read the Bible from cover to cover. I’m just sayin’.

Of those that really read the Word and try to understand it, many come at it from an intellectual angle. Everything has to line up, make sense, be proven, and fit their brand of logic. And the difficulties that remain, they find a way to explain them away. These are the same folks that spend time and energy on determining if Adam and Eve had belly buttons, or want to prove whether Noah cleaned the poop out of the ark during or after their time at sea.

The Bible has some unanswered questions!

Then I find the fundamentalist that believe everything is literally true. They even try to live out the Old Testament law by using the Jewish dietary laws, having church on the Sabbath which is Saturday and the like. They spend their time pointing out what others do that isn't Bible.

Romans 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Then I often wonder about the “experiential” Christians. They find ways to rationalize away all the parts of the Bible that they have never seen God do for them. Usually, they have a few answered prayers and a salvation experience and not much more. These are the ones that truly doubt until they've seen it. They supposedly take everything on faith – which is a limited view because they will have to have experienced it themselves. Faith believes in that which is unseen!

James 1:6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind

Then there are the symbolic Christians. Everything in the Bible is some sort of philosophical lesson , or symbol of something nice - all with a life application. Paul was blind and then he saw. Therefore; we should open our eyes and be like Paul. Those types of analogies get pretty old because they put it all on us. We are to open our eyes, not have God illuminate His wisdom to us.They are like curious George books – it is the same format over and over with a different conflicts.

Apart from godly revelation, the Bible is powerless.

Bible worshippers – these are the ones that have to have verse for everything that happens. The see the book as terribly personal, yet it has no personal instructions about what job to pick, what wife to take, wisdom on how to ask  for a needed raise at work – nothing. The Bible is very specific, and yet without God's revelation it is just religion.

Matthew 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Then there are the emotional Christians too. Basically if it feels good it must be God, and if it doesn’t, then it isn't. That certainly makes a lot of things in the Bible out of date. That or every bad thing is blamed on the devil. The letters of Paul to the Corinthians describe this in detail - even as faithful believers, they continued on in the pleasures of the flesh, having banquets and leaving others outside. In the church of Ephesus men did not work or take care of their families.

Remember you can't cast you, out of you.

You get the idea. We approach Christianity in various ways: intellectually, emotionally, legalistically and logically. Certainly, there are many that think those approaches are spiritual, but they are not. To top it off we filter the word with culture and personal preferences - a form of personal logic. We find it difficult to understand historical context when it applies, and to separate allegory, symbolism, prophetic, historical passages or correctly interpret the parables.

I guess what frosts my freezer bulb is that fact that there is no baseline for any of these approaches. I don’t remember Jesus sitting down to think it over, certainly He obeyed the laws, but when it came to loving others, he set religion aside. He never debated the laws, he proved them with love and power and wisdom. By revelation He interpreted the symbolic, the logical and the supernatural as well as pointing out the literal. And in the end, He said that He did what He saw the Father doing – oh, and that we could do greater things than He did.

There is only one way to approach God, and that is through a personal relationship. (Like the one in Song of Songs) If we don’t believe that God speaks, provides wisdom, heals, answers prayer and has encounters for us to partner with Him, we are screwed. Sadly, if that  is the case, then we’ll have to enter into debate, argument, division and probably start a new denomination to experience God. it's unlikely.

If we believe that God will guide us into all truth, then we better start asking where we’ve gone astray. We can't all be right, nor can we all be following God. There are both tongues and interpretations or there isn't. There are New Testament prophets or there is not. We can pull out our Thompson Chain and start quoting, or we can seek God and find out why we’ve missed Him in relationship.

Why is all this important? Because the next generation appears to be conforming the Bible to strong cultural pressures. It’s been happening for a long time, but as we draw near to the end of the age, it will get worse and worse.

Here are some tough questions that the church needs to answer now, but it will be with action, revelation, and not with debate.

If we lovingly allow homosexual men and woman to attend our churches (and we should), will we change our biblical stance that this lifestyle is still sinful? The Church basically does not have an answer that looks anything like love to the gay community.

Will we allow scientific theory that is often taught as fact to influence our view of creation? How will we stand up to impeccable logic that is contrary to what we believe? Genetic engineers are able to fast track elements of the Theory of Evolution in the lab . I am not saying that what they may be able to produce could have occurred naturally in 60 billion years - but those "discoveries" may come.

Will we continue to identify with political parties that may have positions that are contrary to living a biblical lifestyle? Why does a conservative Christian have to be a Republican and one who is for social justice a Democrat? Can't we admit that both parties stand for things that are unbiblical?

Will we continue to allow an inept governments to do the work of the church when it comes to feeding the poor, caring for widows, wayward teens, and those in prison? This is a hot button issue for me - is it easier to vote for a pro-abortion candidate because they give food to the poor?

Sure, they are tough questions, but I see the move towards a political solution for social justice that will in fact cripple the church which promotes it.

Habakkuk 1:4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

In order for us to do God’s will we must see what He is doing. A good place to start is reading the Bible from cover to cover.

We must become doers of the word, and hearers of His voice - otherwise we are part of the problem. And that I'm right about.

Matthew 5:17 [ The Fulfillment of the Law ] "Do not think that I [Jesus] have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.



Romans 6:14 




For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

9 comments:

GCT said...

"Scholars have tried to comprehend the ancient texts, and every Christian saved or unsaved (yeah some call themselves Christians) has struggled with the Bible."

Why would that be the case? Why would god write a book that is so confusing if the desired end result is that everyone conform to it and be saved?

"Because the next generation appears to be conforming the Bible to strong cultural pressures. It’s been happening for a long time, but as we draw near to the end of the age, it will get worse and worse."

Yes, I agree. We should get back to teaching that slavery is OK according to the Bible and that women are the property of men.

"If we lovingly allow homosexual men and woman to attend our churches (and we should), will we change our biblical stance that this lifestyle is still sinful? The Church basically does not have an answer that looks anything like love to the gay community."

Agreed. The Xian stance on homosexuality is hateful.

"Will we allow scientific theory that is often taught as fact to influence our view of creation? How will we stand up to impeccable logic that is contrary to what we believe?"

Indeed, what will you do? You seem to lament changing the Bible and Xian beliefs above, but here you admit that those beliefs may very well be in conflict with the brute facts of the world.

"Will we continue to allow an inept governments to do the work of the church when it comes to feeding the poor, caring for widows, wayward teens, and those in prison?"

That's not the current scope of work for the church. The work of the church is supposedly winning souls for Jesus. It would be a lot better if churches actually went out to simply 'feed the poor, care for widows, wayward teens, and those in prison' but that's not how it works.

David said...

@GCT - one cannot understand the "book" without a relationship with God. It is only confusing to those that want to intellectualize it. That is the point of the blog today. Paul said one cannot perceive the things of the Spirit without the Spirit.

I don't know of any plausible slavery teaching in the Bible, nor that woman are the "property" of man. One can be a Christian whether slave or free. There isn't any intimation that a Christians should, or even be allowed to have slaves - humans that are bought and sold like livestock.

Regarding woman as property, that is ludicrous. The Bible does speak of submission, but that is only to the husband that is fully submitted to Christ and willing to lay down his life for her. He is the husband that cares so deeply for his wife that He would do anything for her. And that certainly can't be interpreted as sub-equal or inferior. It is honor for both.

You have confused love and sin in the stereotyped "Christian Stance" on homosexuality. Others do too. Sad.

I am not willing to agree that there is anything close to enough "fact" to support the Theory of Evolution.

Feeding the poor and the like, may not be the current scope of church that you are familiar with. I'd challenge you again to do some real research by going to some meetings instead of amassing opinions on the Internet.

In the end, the one that knows and loves Jesus as well as his fellow man, is the one that will be better equipped to interpret the Scriptures.

As always, I appreciate your comments.

GCT said...

David,
"one cannot understand the "book" without a relationship with God. It is only confusing to those that want to intellectualize it. That is the point of the blog today. Paul said one cannot perceive the things of the Spirit without the Spirit."

Holy circular logic Batman! So, god wants us all to have a relationship with him, which leads him to write a book for that purpose, but the book is confusing unless you already have a relationship with him...and this helps achieve his purpose how? Why is a supposedly perfect being so inept?

"I don't know of any plausible slavery teaching in the Bible, nor that woman are the "property" of man."

I have to wonder if we are reading the same Bible then. The treatment of women is pretty well laid out. They are to be subservient to their husbands. They are treated over and over as property and it is seen as good or demanded. god only deals with men and speaks of the women as property.

As for slavery, there are rules about how to own slaves, where to get them from, etc. Instead of saying, don't have slaves, god says, go ahead - just follow these rules and it's OK to own other people.

"There isn't any intimation that a Christians should, or even be allowed to have slaves - humans that are bought and sold like livestock."

You have read the whole book, right?

"Regarding woman as property, that is ludicrous. The Bible does speak of submission, but that is only to the husband that is fully submitted to Christ and willing to lay down his life for her. He is the husband that cares so deeply for his wife that He would do anything for her. And that certainly can't be interpreted as sub-equal or inferior. It is honor for both."

No, it most certainly is not an honor for both. It is not an honor for a women to be told to be subservient to a man. I'm surprised you would even argue as much.

"You have confused love and sin in the stereotyped "Christian Stance" on homosexuality. Others do too. Sad."

Because telling people they are wrong, sinful, evil, etc. for wanting to love the person they are attracted to is somehow good? And, my position is sad? Wait, which position of mine is sad, that I see gays as people or that I see the majority of Xians condemning them and being hateful?

"I am not willing to agree that there is anything close to enough "fact" to support the Theory of Evolution."

Then you should check out some textbooks. We have over 150+ years of evidence for it. It's a fact, the book's been closed on it for a while now.

"Feeding the poor and the like, may not be the current scope of church that you are familiar with. I'd challenge you again to do some real research by going to some meetings instead of amassing opinions on the Internet."

So, you deny that churches are interested in getting people to Jesus and see giving to the poor as a way of doing that?

photogr said...

I doubt seroiusly that any one could stand the test of faith based on what you have stated here.

And after all this time I thought I was following scriptures as I understood them.

David said...

@ Larry - and you are right. The only way to have salvation and understand the Bible is to be saved by faith. Do you believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? If the answer is yes, then come on in and relax. Enjoy His rest and grace.

David said...

@GCT - There in lies one of your misconceptions about God. The Book is a chronicle of the ways and nature of God. It is not God. Without a relationship with the All Mighty, the book is nothing but print and paper.

One of the failures of the church is to preach the Bible, and not to preach relationship with God.

In a creative sense, the chicken (God) came before the egg (Bible). You can have a relationship with God and never read the Bible, but you cannot read the Bible and have a relationship with God.

Jesus preached the Kingdom of God, not read your Torah!

Maybe you need to read your Bible again. But without the Spirit of God, you will come to your own intellectual conclusion. Or maybe you need to stop reading the Bible and get out there and work on experiencing God. Just a thought.

So you are telling me that a woman would not want to be protected, adored, loved, affirmed for her qualities and gifting and served for the sake of being in control of the marriage relationship?

People that want to be in control are selfish.

But people are wrong, and they are sinful. No one is good, that is the whole point of the Gospel and salvation. I think people say stuff like, nobody is perfect. It's really true.

I studied biology in high school, can college. I worked at Yale Medical School. I have heard all the theories. No one has the fossil to back up their theory. No one. And personally, I suspect they never will.

There are no rules for slave sin the New Testament. For those of us that are saved by faith, we are under grace and we have entered into the new covenant.

Selfish churches are interested in programs, numbers and the like. it is human nature, but not God.

We are to simply love people, and serve them. We preach a Gospel of love and salvation (forgiveness of sin) for the sake of the Kingdom, not in building membership.

The difference should be easy to spot. But as in the time of Jesus, man wants power, prestige and "signs." There is nothing new under the sun.

But for those that will humble themselves and repent, that Kingdom is wide open.

Thanks for sharing.

GCT said...

David,
"There in lies one of your misconceptions about God. The Book is a chronicle of the ways and nature of God. It is not God."

Never said it was. What it seems to be is the book that god wrote to talk about himself and bring people to him. Yet, you can't come to him through the book unless you've already come to him? This is inept.

"In a creative sense, the chicken (God) came before the egg (Bible). You can have a relationship with God and never read the Bible, but you cannot read the Bible and have a relationship with God."

So, the Bible is superfluous?

"Jesus preached the Kingdom of God, not read your Torah!"

Actually, he did condemn those who didn't follow the Torah correctly.

"So you are telling me that a woman would not want to be protected, adored, loved, affirmed for her qualities and gifting and served for the sake of being in control of the marriage relationship?"

No, I'm saying that telling a woman that she must be subservient to her husband is treating her like a second-class human being at best.

"People that want to be in control are selfish."

It's not about forcing women to be in control - that's a false dichotomy. It's about telling one class of people (women) that they are lower and must be subservient. And, can't we turn it around and claim that god is selfish since he clearly wants to be in control?

"But people are wrong, and they are sinful. No one is good, that is the whole point of the Gospel and salvation."

It's hateful theology.

"I studied biology in high school, can college. I worked at Yale Medical School. I have heard all the theories. No one has the fossil to back up their theory."

I suggest that you go back and look at the fossil record. We have very clear records of the evolution of hominids, whales, horses, and many others. And, it's not just fossils. See here.

"There are no rules for slave sin the New Testament."

And, no prohibitions. In fact, Paul tells people to go back to their masters. Either way, you can't hide behind rejecting the parts of the OT that you dislike. It's apparent that god has no dislike of slavery and many people (until relatively recently) found plenty of Biblical support for slavery.

"Selfish churches are interested in programs, numbers and the like. it is human nature, but not God."

But, you do admit that the mission of churches is to bring more people in, correct?

"We are to simply love people, and serve them."

No, you are to serve god - big difference.

"We preach a Gospel of love and salvation (forgiveness of sin) for the sake of the Kingdom, not in building membership."

I wouldn't call it a message of love, I would call it a message of brutality and inhumanity. Telling people that they deserve to be tortured for all eternity unless they agree to be slaves to some cosmic dictator is hardly a message of love.

"The difference should be easy to spot."

Yet, it clearly is not.

Tracy said...

I'm grateful that God has brought me into relationship with Himself. However, at some time or another throughout my life with Christ, I had fallen into intellectually, emotionally, legalistically or logically approaching the Bible. But, when it's all said and done, I'm grateful that His Holy Spirit in me convicts me when I get off track, and brings forgiveness and restoration into my life. I'm also grateful that there are also times when He makes His Word alive to me and uses the Bible to make changes in me so I can experience the great life He has for me.

Donald said...

Looks like I arrived late to this party. Bummer, that.

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